A few years ago, I broke down and bought an artificial Christmas tree. For years I fought the temptation of buying one, because I loved the process of buying the perfect tree and bringing it home to decorate. As soon as Thanksgiving was over I was looking for my tree. I’m one of those who loves Christmas and if I go to all the trouble to decorate everything, I want to enjoy the season for as long as possible. After going out to buy a real fragrant Christmas tree, I decided to check out the artificial trees one more time. I finally found one I really liked, so I decided to go ahead and get it. I have enjoyed the ease of it much these last few years, but the one thing I miss the most, is the wonderful smell you get from a live Christmas tree. I have bought the Spruce air sprays and Fir fragrant hangers and they help, but it’s just not the same. Last year as I was buying some fresh garland I noticed a pile of Christmas tree branches in a pile that had been removed from trees. I asked the sales person what they were going to do with the branches and was told they sell them. I bought several branches from several different types of trees. When I got home I cut them into 10” pieces and added them to my Christmas tree. Now this helped bring some of the Christmas tree fragrance I had been missing back into my home.
I then began to think about all the ways I could incorporate fresh greenery into my artificial decorations and so I added live branches to the artificial greenery on my mantel and it blended in so well that it's hard to tell whats real and what's not except that the wonderful smell of Christmas permeates my home.
There are several standard landscape shrubs that also work great in holiday arrangements this time of year. The first is Holly. Now there are several varieties of Holly out there, so I think the best ones have big shiny green leaves along with red berries. Some varieties of Holly shrubs with berries are Dwarf Burford Holly, Dazzler Holly and Berries Jubilee. Then there are tree varieties like the Yaupon Holly tree, Nellie R. Stevens Holly and Savannah Holly that also will have red berries. So if you want the Holly look, think about varieties with berries, not only are they fun to use at Christmas but they provide good color in your landscape when most plants are dormant. There are a few other shrubs that have red berries during the winter months and they are Nandina and Pyracantha. Although less conventional they would still add great color to any Christmas arrangement.
A few other plants that are used for greenery in Christmas arrangements are Boxwood, Cedars, and Junipers, And if you have a Magnolia tree, they are used in garland and wreaths. So look around your yard and see if you can’t add a little "real" to your artificial Christmas.